23 December 2006

12 Days of Christmas: Day 11

This is our Advent Wreath, it should come with four candles to mark the four Sundays of Advent, but I admit to hating, hating, hating having four candles of different heights with one being gone before the last one is lit or having to start all of them at different times to maintain similar levels, thus not having a pristine candle per Advent Sunday ... so we just have one.

21 December 2006

12 Days of Christmas: Day 10

This is from a bit earlier in the Christmassing Process ... Vanille Kipferl that I baked.

15 December 2006

12 Days of Christmas: Day 6 ...

... keeping the Postal Service in business ... and receiving little Christmas Urchins in return!

The current count being 26 hand-written personal cards as well as seven parcels.

14 December 2006

10 December 2006

12 Days of Christmas - Day 3

The Tree is Up - which is utterly un-German and a new custom in our house. Since 2005, we put up our tree on the second weekend of Advent:

It's fairly traditionally decorated in red and gold, with limited edition porcellain bells that my best friend gives me one per year as well as a few very select wooden ornaments from my childhood. We don't use candles because I'm dead-scared of torching my house. Instead we have fairy lights plugged into a switchable socket, so that I can switch the tree on and off. Very German in its practicability.

(In case you're wondering now ... the garland from Day 2 is on a timer. Very electricity efficient ... and I can override it with a switch too!)

And then there was baking, lots of baking. I even participated in a Cookie Swap. The evening was fun but I won't do it again because I liked my wares best ;-)

8 December 2006

12 Days of Christmas - Day 2

I'm not sure if I'll make it to 12 before the End of Christmas ... but at the moment, the Christmas Mail Room takes precedent. And then the Christmas Cookie Factory ... where are all them Christmas Elves when you need them?

6 December 2006

12 Days of Christmas: Day 1

Well, we're not going to make it to Christmas in just twelve days which - believe you me - is a massive relief! But here you go: Christmas Decorations at my house

And our first tree of the Season:

4 December 2006

Ironing - German Style

In Germany, if you are a good housekeeper, you send your sheets and table linens away to be ironed. Usually, dry cleaners will accept your linens and steam press them on large contraptions. Much cheaper than having them ironed by hand and much less stressful that ironing them yourself.

This is what they use:

Per sheet, I pay approx $1,20 and get smooth crisp linen, lovely! It's difficult to find these places these days because it's staff intensive work. But sooo worth it.

1 December 2006

Long Lost Fabric Finds Way Home ...

Huh? you may wonder ... remember all that lovely fabric I bought in August? Approx 6.5 yards of lovely cotton that seemed really summery because one was a floral? And I spent so much money on it ... well, I washed it and then sent it off to be ironed. And they lost it!!! $115 worth of fabric ... Oh no!

But: today, I went in to pick up some different ironing that needed doing and guess what we found: my long lost treasure. What a good day I'm having and the sun's shining too.

Edited to add: There it is, all washed and wrinkle-free ...

22 November 2006

Did I say: two out of three?

Wrong, it's three out of three!!! Due in April, June and July.

As for all the ideas, thank you so much! I'm not much of a themed fabric person but the suggestion with four patch and uni gave me an idea that I ran with for a while. Then I had my own idea (squares, see below) that was quickly substituted by Carol ... I will make a big star, just one and line the whole thing with a fleece blanket.

This will also be the backing of choice for the baby quilt for our April baby. I've had safari themed fabric (did I actually say: I'm not much of a themed fabric gal?), namely two returns of desert animals, a sandy desert print and a grassy pampas print. I'll do a design and post it as soon as I get my Christmas act together!

17 November 2006

Got it!

Inspiration hit! I will make a very classic quilt using a set of bed sheets I bought for the purpose of making something for baby's mum. One side of the set is striped, the other one has big flowers and I will just make a quilt of squares with a nice border in a solid colour. Machine pieced, hand quilted.

16 November 2006


Not only am I way behind on my personal projects, all of a sudden, two out of three of my closest girl friends are pregnant at 35 and 38 respectively. They are first-time mums and obviously that calls for baby quilts!

I have had the material for one baby's quilt for years now, always waiting for mum to get knocked up ('scuse me!). So that's sorted. Mercifully, it's the first to arrive.

But with baby two, I'm stumped. She's a trained chef, though no longer working in that field, he's a hockey coach. I cannot make anything too complicated for lack of time! And I have zero idea! Any and all ideas are welcome!

Burning the Candle at both Ends

OK, so who stole the past six weeks? Where have they gone?

We've been away on holiday for about two of them and away for almost a week at my in-laws (how fun!). Plus the endless washing, a lot of work at my prime client's business and getting a new business together plus keeping the current one running ...

... it's no surprise I've not gotten anything done!

I have got more bag planned to hold all the mits, scarves and hats my girls need this winter. Plus one for art supplies for when Paula goes to art class.

And then there's still my Turning Twenty and a basket full of things to mend.

8 October 2006

Bag One Done!

Taa daa!

In case you were wondering why this is such a big deal: I grew up with "leg bags", my mum turned all kinds of pant legs into all kinds of bags that were dubbed "bread pouches" ... mainly brown corduroy pants because I grew up during the 1970ies. And believe it or not, some of them are still "in action". In fact, my dad uses one every day to carry a bottle of water, some slices of rye bread and old gouda to the office for his lunchtime snack.

So there you go: history repeated!

Bag Lady

I seem to have been infected by Bag Fever:

An old pant leg, some lining from curtains that needed shortening and those seemingly rather useless strips of rose fabric ...

Stage 2 ... bag taking shape.

Stage 3 will be completed tonight. All in all a very fruitful weekend, finally!

7 October 2006

Binding done ...

Well, sort of: I have attached it to the top to see how big the whole thing will be in order to cut the backing and wadding to size.

I'm quite pleased with the colour and pattern ... the binding is a Red Rooster fabric with just leaves and the backing will be from that same range, just in green. My hand quilting yarn is a delightfull pink to provide some contrast to the otherwise "simple" (aka boring) back.

And see, this is the reason why I will not be doing a Turning Twenty quilt again. I've taken such care to square off the blocks and sew them all precisely ... yet the points are not aligning, sigh. I'm sure it'll be fine once it's quilted. I can always apply my favorite excuse: handmade!

6 October 2006


I've had to redo two blocks because of colour considerations and then assembled the whole thing while watching American Dreamz and slurping white wine. Perfect Friday night, given that hubby was out of the country.

21 September 2006

Moving right along ...

thanks to a new quilters' group I've joined. Sadly - but mercifully - it only meets once a month - I couldn't possibly squeeze in more appointments. But it's finally a group that meets to work. All the others I've visited meet to chat. And I don't like that.

It's a diverse group of women, predominantly local with a few US Americans thrown in. All seem to be working mums, most a good ten to twenty years older than myself and much more experienced too. Some are stitchers, one owns the quilt shop where we meet - insta-supply!

And this is how I'm getting on with things.

Following Jan's advice, I popped down the road to my local DIY store and bought insulating boards. Sadly they don't come in the size I require so I bought two and taped them together. Hubby's now promised to make a frame of sorts for them.

They came as a godsent, I shuffled the blocks around and around and then around some more. Then I turned the board on its side and on its head and shuffled the blocks around some more. For the most part, the design wall resides in my laundry room so that I can stare at it while folding laundry ...

And this is my largest oeuvre to date: Carola with chocolate sauce on her face ...

13 September 2006

No surprise really ...

... that I'm not feeling too balanced. I have not quilted in a long time! The lay-out for my Turning Twenty is final and I should really take a photo of in on my design wall.

I have been messing about with backing fabrics and decided that the ones I bought in early August are lovely but not quite right. So I went and bought more. Which is waiting to be ironed. In the meantime, it seems that the place that irons all my linens (a very traditional and normal service to have in Germany) has lost my first batch. About $110 worth of fabrics. I am so upset!!! And I cannot even say "find it or I will not come back" because they are the only decent business of that kind in my area.

5 August 2006

Quilter's Paradise, Bank Manager's Woe!

After that desastrous trip to that local fabric store, I decided to venture a little further to a proper Quilting and Patchwork shop, very worth my while. I spent just under $150 ... too bad for the other folks! Plus at my new favorite shop, they do classes and evening quilting circles.

My new fabric's already washed and off to be ironed. Yippieh!

4 August 2006

Aaaargh, Shopper's Woe!

So, I planned my entire morning around a trip to the local fabric wholesaler. I had been there once before and didn't find selection all that inspiring. Their service is disinterested at the best of times. So, why in Heaven's name did I go back? I really don't know.

But I went, equipped with scraps to match the colours. And they had nothing, zilch, nada, rien for me. I'm so frustrated now. And I have vowed to not return.

Hmpf! Do I really have to start another project as a stop-gap until I have time to go another store?

3 August 2006

Much happier with the layout!

It's not perfect, it will never be perfect and therefore it will be an excellent exercise in letting go.

Tomorrow, I will buy fabric.



When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn´t go and doesn´t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we´ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I´m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people´s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go.
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too surprised
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

(Found this at Krawuggl, who's got more patience than I do, posting in both German and English).

Look at that!

Courtesy of Amy at Happythings

I love everything about this quilt, especially the quick and stunning backing solution!

2 August 2006

Oh, the hard graft!

For days now, I've been mentally going over the final layout of my Turning Twenty quilt. I'm just not happy with the dark red. But it's there and the idea of quilting is to use up old scraps of fabric, so it stays. But what to do with it?!?

On Friday, I hope to go and purchase the fabric needed for the edging and the backing of the quilt. Until then I need to have a viable layout. Recently, I've been toying with the idea of having Scottish-style checkered or pastel/cremy tartan fabrics for the backing and a leafy style fabric for the edge. But to counter the red, I might use red edging ... then, what to do with the backing.

It's endless ... oh well, I'll go and finish squaring them off so that I can tinker with the layout. And I'm thinking that on Friday, I need to swing by the DIY store to pick up some insulating board to make myself a design wall Jan-style.

(And Blogger is acting up, threatening to eat this post not once but twice ....!)

29 July 2006

Confetti Quilting

... another thing I learned from my commenters today: There is such a thing as a confetti quilt:


Not something I will ever do, I think. But I might keep them for Shadow Quilting:


28 July 2006

Happily squaring away

... is what I'm up to. I've grabbed my cutting mat, my rotary cutter and my ruler with its little gripper spotty thingies underneath and am squaring away. Naturally, my heart bleeds at having to discard the cut-offs, but really, there is no point in saving 5 mm slim scraps, is there?

Now, I'm debating additional fabrics for the backing and the edge. I'm probably going to go with some small dotty fabric, irregular tiny flowers or something, plus checkers for the backing but in pastels please. That'll be fun to find.

I had hoped to swing by our local fabric retailer but my boss threw me a curb ball by setting up an appointment in the office. I had planned on working frmo home and running some errands ... but ey, at least I got my contract extended. So it was worth it.

9 July 2006

How to square it off ...?

So, I've machined all those 35 blocks and now the difficult part begins ... the squaring and the assembling ... in the right order ... which brings us to this:

I decided against this ... mainly because of the very blood red squares top of the centre, so I moved them to the corner:

So there are 32 blocks placed and one lesson learned: a pattern revolving around quarters is no good for 35 blocks (35 aka 5 times 7). Sigh.

Which takes us to the next level: how to square off ... do I? Do I need to? And if I need to, how? I've never done before. I'm a bit baffled and apprehensive. Sigh.

17 June 2006

A Woman Obsessed ...

no, that is not me. It's my neighbour, she's obsessed with her terrasse ... and even brings out her sewing machine.

(Sneaky shot from my kitchen window)

Thanks for all your comments! Allow me to add: This woman is the resident dragon in our little development. She's quite obnoxious, actually. Consequently, I'll sew in my basement while she sews on her porch ;-)

6 June 2006

Done - just in time ...

which is: the night before the Birthday of the Birthday Girl. And this is what a Princess Bed looks like in my house:

The whole thing ...

The top ...

The rest: notice the little dragon and mouse on the day cover?

1 June 2006

All prepared and rearing to go ....

Other than ebaying, I spent yesterday evening cutting triangles and pinning bed linen to fleece blankets for a throw. It may not look like much at this stage but it will all come together tonight, I'm hoping:

Fabric selection for triangles: IKEA linens, left-overs gifted to me by a British quilting friend, my grand-mother's bed linen ...

Added: This is what the princess bed should look like - well, in principle at least!

It will have a quilt (see first image) and the netting (see second image). At first I wanted to rim the bottom but now I'm all focussed on those triangles at the top. Only that mine aren't that contrasting which I hope won't be a problem design-wise.

20 May 2006

We're interrupting this project ...

for an urgent present. It's Carola's birthday is a few weeks' time and she has been campaigning - quite vigorously, I might add - for a bunk bed of sorts. It's actually a raised bed she's after with crawl space underneath. Since her toddler bed is lovely - and was quite pricey - we've vetoed this idea. So now the toddler bed wants "dressing up"!

I've bought a mosquito net at IKEA - handy because in the summer she gets stung on occasion - and will decorate it in a "princess-ly" way. There have also been requests of stars and such things so I need to figure out how to fashion stars to be dangling from the net - matching, no less, the rather pink theme revolving around the bed. Anyone heard of pink stars?

Anyway, since the Princess is out shopping with her dad, I thought I'd get a head start ... Will post fotos as soon as I get motivated enough to drag out the camera.

16 May 2006

To wash or not to wash

... that is the question! The more comments I receive - thank you by the way! - the more I wonder: I always believed in pre-washing because of colour running and shrinkage. Aren't you afraid of those two ghastly quilting ghosts?

And really, the worst was untangling the squares, they ironed quickly and I'm pleased with the result. Now I need to find time to assemble!

11 May 2006

All in a day's work!

I have been very busy today and you will get to see how:

Maybe washing strips and squares wasn't such a brilliant idea ... oh well!

There's always ironing! Or is that irony?

Ok, all pressed and sorted. Hm, either very strong contrasts or very little. This may be a challenge ...

No matter from which angle you look at it!

Anyway, moving right along ... after devising complicated numerical schemes of how to match the swatches without ending up with duplicate blocks, I decided to go for the easy approach of just laying it out:

Load 2 ...

These are 35 block grouped but yet to be assembled.

Somehow looks like quite a small lot. I wonder what size it will be ... 5 by 7 blocks? Or shall I go for 4 by 9? Because I have "back-up" ... since holding a master's degree in business administration doesn't necessarily mean one can calculate with two-digit figures (I mean, come on, I only got ten digits meself so really this is pushing it!)

Otherwise these will be the edges, the finishing touch. Ahem!